Hawaii’s verdant lands and warm tropical weather are a combo for perfection when it comes to farming in the islands. Miles and miles of farmlands make up the view for those heading to the more isolated parts of Hawaii. The drive to Oahu’s North Shore includes pineapples, coffee and sunflowers fields. On Kauai’s west side, there are rows and rows of corn.
Of course, the crops aren’t there for show. Once harvested, they’re sold at local grocery stores and farmers markets, where you can get a taste of them. Fresh fruits and vegetables sold at the local markets will most likely be cheaper than at the store. You’ll also get a chance to talk story with the very people who grew them.
Hawaii farmers makets, in particular, are known for their unique produce. Ulu (breadfruit), avocado, star fruit and mango top the list of local flavors. Some islands specialize in certain produce, such as Maui’s famously sweet onions and Kona’s juicy oranges. Tourists are always amazed when they try an apple banana for the first time. These, you must try; they’re so sweet and so good for you.
Some farmers market vendors or local eateries incorporate their fresh produce into specialty foods, such as jams, jellies or smoothies. Many restaurants nowadays will brag about using all local produce and ingredients. Why is that important? Because it assures customers they’ll get the best quality and taste from their meals.
And from farm to fork to your body, you could also lather yourself with fruit-scented lotions and perfumes. A walking fruit basket, if you will.
The Puna Culinary Festival is underway on the Big Island, south of Hilo. Every year, it not only features local chefs but local famers. “Taste of Pahoa” is perhaps the most popular because it showcases restaurants and entertainment. There will also be a “Behind the Scenes Luau,” complete with fire dancing, hula and delicious luau foods.